Archive for enough already

OK to put Uzi in child's hands, but not OK to comfort kids with hugs

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guns 9 year old with UziImage via YouTube courtesy of The Independent

What possible reason could any parent have to encourage their child to use an Uzi? Despite how "mature" the 9-year-old who accidentally fatally shot her range instructor seemed to everyone involved, IMHO there is no justification for allowing her to shoot a sub-machine gun. I can hardly write about this, I am that outraged, angry, and stunned.

Instead, here are today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

What an outrageous display of irresponsibility at this Arizona gun range. ( “Uzi accident is fatal,” Aug. 27)

I am not only talking about the girl’s parents or the gun instructor.

More to the point, it is the senselessness of voters in this country who insist that legally possessing a gun designed solely to rapidly kill multiple people represents 2nd Amendment freedom.

Ron Landesman, Los Angeles

..

Smoke was coming out of my ears while I read this article. In what universe does a sane, reasonably intelligent person show a 9-year old how to fire an Uzi?

Lord knows I’m no firearms expert, but even I know the recoil could be substantial if the shooter weighs about 60 pounds, the average weight of a 9-year old girl.

Benjamin Franklin famously answered a question about the new nation, calling it “a republic — if you can keep it.”

Has our country’s passion for guns overtaken our capacity to reason? And does that passion threaten our liberty? I think the Founding Fathers would be spinning in their graves if they saw how the extraordinary republic they created interprets the “right to bear arms” amendment today.

Danielle Karson, Pasadena

..

Kids cope by internalizing responsibility for terrible things that happen — even if it’s not their fault — in situations far less dramatic than this.

So I have one question: How will these children (and God only knows how many more) — who, at their ages, are cognizant enough to understand what happened — cope with the tremendous guilt for the rest of their lives?

David Fritz, Reseda

..

The tragic death of the gun instructor is puzzling on so many levels. First, why was he teaching a 9-year-old to fire an Uzi? And why were this child’s parents bringing her to a range to learn to shoot an Uzi?

We all know Arizona , like many other states, has issues with crime, illegal immigration and drug smuggling, but has it really come to arming children with Uzis? I sure hope not.

Marty Foster, Ventura

..

My thoughts are with the 9-year-old girl, her family and the family of the deceased. Having said this, among the questions I have are:

When are we Americans going to learn to divorce ourselves from this love affair we seem to have with guns?

How much more tragedy must we endure at the hands of guns?

Hugo Pastore, Torrance

..

When is it ever necessary in the U.S. for anyone under the age of 10 to use an Uzi? What is wrong with us as citizens? We should be howling in outrage.

Please, can we finally legislate control of automatic weapons? There is no need for them in daily life.

This was an avoidable tragedy on so many levels.

Susan Van Buren, Newbury Park

..

The mind boggles. Most parents would not allow their 9-year-old to cross the street by themselves, not to mention handling dangerous machinery.

What earthly reason is there for putting a fatal assault weapon in the hands of a child?

Is this how far the reach of the NRA goes?

Nancy Lazerson, Encinitas

..

If I have the facts right from your news article and your Op-Ed piece, then we are allowed to put an Uzi into the hands of a 9-year-old girl, but we are prohibited from hugging her when she realizes that she has taken a human life. (“Too litigious for hugs,” Opinion, Aug. 27) 

Wayland Marie, Riverside

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Cliff Notes: 9-year-old kills instructor by mistake; NRA pisses off wrong nerd genius

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cliff schecter on Today show 9-year-old girl shoots instructor

My dear friend and mentor, Cliff Schecter, has a new post up; Cliff has given me permission to share his work with you, so I’ll give you the latest edition of what I call Cliff Notes. Below are a few excerpts from his latest, with permission. Please read the whole thing, because he has way more than I’ve included here.

Kudos are in order; Cliff's been showing up all over MSNBC and NBC these days, because they know how good he is at what he does. The above clip is from the Today show, and below is last night's appearance on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. The videos and excerpts focus on the horrific accidental killing of a shooting range instructor by a 9-year-old girl, as well as Bill Gates' million dollar donation for universal background checks:

Here is Cliff pointing out the impact that Bill Gates could have with his support of popular, common sense gun laws. Please link over for the entire post:  

Gates has the ability to grab headlines and make an issue go viral with the constant media coverage he receives, and the financial ability, if he wins, to fund similar efforts around the country. His involvement could be the answer to the public health crisis that makes American children 93 percent of those murdered in the 26 high-income countries around the world.

Meanwhile, the NRA has…Chuck Norris, doing its “Trigger The Vote” Campaign. [...]

Who knows, with that kind of dough, maybe even measures that “only” enjoy 56 percent support like bans on assault weapons and/or high-capacity magazines could pass via direct voting by uncorrupted American citizens. Or perhaps state legislators and members of Congress who bend easily to the will of these Lords of War could be swapped out for those who live in a closer neighborhood to the best interests of the American populace.

Likely the NRA will try to do to Gates what it has attempted to do to Bloomberg for a few years now, and seek to make this fight about him and not its right-wing radicalism in the service of avarice. He’s a billionaire trying to influence our political process, after all, unlike Manhattan resident David Koch, who along with his brother Charles has polluted our political process to no end, including funding the NRA.

Sure, in an ideal world big money wouldn’t play such an outsize role in our elections, such as this hugely important ballot initiative in Washington state. But that’s not what the NRA wants. It just wants its big money still to be all that decides the outcome, and it isn’t. Which is why Wayne LaPierre’s having a bad day.

Please read the entire post at The Daily Beast, here.

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Cliff Notes: "NRA only worried about the civil rights of white people." #Ferguson

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civil rights movement smaller

My dear friend and mentor, Cliff Schecter, has a new post up; Cliff has given me permission to share his work with you, so I’ll give you the latest edition of what I call Cliff Notes.

He skewers better than a chef at Smokey Joe’s BBQ. He’s sharper than the point on Sarah Palin’s pin head.

Here are a few excerpts from his latest, with permission. Please read the whole thing, because he has way more than I’ve included here. Kudos are in order; MSNBC's Alex Wagner gave Cliff and this article a shout out and some well-deserved attention. It's about the hypocrisy of the NRA and their apparent disdain for the civil rights of Ferguson residents. Well, some of them, anyway.

Here are a few bits and pieces, bu please link over for the entire post:

The National Rifle Association has been warning us about the threat of a heavily-armed and dangerous government crushing dissent for decades.  [...]

Their dystopian nightmare sounds exactly like what’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri.

Yet somehow, the NRA seems to have missed the whole thing with the SWAT teams and the tank-like vehicles and the snipers and the LRAD sound cannon and the tear gas and the rubber bullets being trained on unarmed Americans. [...]

If I were suspicious of their motives--and I am--I might point out that when I visited their 9 acres of militarized gun-fun also known as their convention in Indianapolis, I saw fewer black faces than in your average episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. I'd also point out that LaPierre blows just about every tune he knows on his dog whistle, when warning his membership of the horrors confronting them during this period when violent crime has fallen to its lowest level in a generation [...]

The National Rifle Association often claims it is "America's longest standing civil rights organization" but apparently these minor issues were more important than the murder of an unarmed teen by a policeman, and the subsequent attacks by a militarized force on unarmed Americans in a U.S. city. It is the exact nightmare the NRA has been predicting. And yet, the NRA professes no kinship for those being crushed beneath the jackboots. It seems the NRA is only worried about the civil rights of white people.

Please read the entire post at The Daily Beast, here.

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Violent headlines that won't go away #NotOneMore

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headlines guns shootings

I spend a good part of my workday hunting for stories to bring to you. If a headline piques my interest, I link over and start reading. If two similar headlines pique my interest, my newsflash periscope pops up. If three or four similar headlines about a topic I regularly cover show up, I drop everything and start writing. This is one of those times. Check out these headlines that are currently running at TPM Livewire:

A group of open carry gun activists who protested Saturday at Dealey Plaza in Dallas filmed a bizarre, more-than-10-minute video of their demonstration and posted it to YouTube.

For the second time in less than a week, police arrested a man on Wednesday for allegedly attempting to bring a pistol into a building at the U.S. Capitol, according to Roll Call.

The Riverside County, Calif. sheriff's department found a body believed to be the suspect in multiple shootings in California...

Police were searching for at least one suspect who was wearing body armor and carrying a semi-automatic rifle after a Riverside County, Calif. sheriff's deputy was shot on Tuesday afternoon.

And it's only 11:30 a.m. here in California. I don't know about you, but I've already O.D.'d on disturbing gun headlines.

While were (rightfully) focused on the Israel-Hamas war and the brutal downing of a Malaysian jetliner by Russian separatists, there is a whole lot of excruciatingly persistent violence going on right here at home. Plus a whole lot of sickos who are apparently convinced that their deadly weapons will compensate for their rather humbling "shortcomings".

Everywhere you look these days, people are substituting communication, patience, and reason with hostility and savage bloodshed. And what does America get when we ask for a way out, for remedies, for peace? Competing headlines featuring GOP Second Amendment Solution warmongers who are fixated on blaming President Obama and his alleged feck in an effort to appeal to their equally extreme voters.

You know what I say to all this anger and to politicians who perpetuate it? Feck you.

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Universal background check supporters boycott Hallmark

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hallmark life is a special occasion

Dear Hallmark: Universal background checks for gun sales could have prevented mass killings. Massacres can also be cut short when a shooter runs out of bullets and has to reload. That's why there's a call for a ban on large capacity magazines in favor of those that hold fewer bullets. Of course, for some unfathomable reason, there is resistance to forcing shooters to stop and reload more often. However, most Americans do agree on mandatory background checks. They can weed out potential gun owners who have a history of violence and mental instability, criminal pasts, or a history of domestic violence. People with obviously severe problems like those should not be able to acquire a gun.

You would think "pro-lifers" would be in favor of saving lives, now wouldn't you? You'd think anyone would. Background checks would be the simplest way to achieve that. In fact, 90% of the American public favors them.

Via DigitalJournal.com:

"But, incredibly, Hallmark does not support Universal Background Checks-- or any background checks-- for gun sales. That is why a complete Hallmark boycott is being called for by the National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC) and the Newtown Victims and Clergy for Corporate Responsibility (NVCCR)," said Elliot Fineman, CEO of (NGVAC). [...]

"Until Hallmark gets off the sideline and supports Universal Background Checks (which NGVAC studies show will minimally save 2,000 lives per year) and commits to work for their passage our boycott will continue," said Fineman.

If protecting the Stay family and America's families is not reason enough for Hallmark to act, then it is reason enough for the over 90% of Americans that want Universal Background Checks to not buy any Hallmark products or to support any of the Hallmark Channel sponsors.

Here's what Hallmark's Chairman Donald Hall, Jr. said in response: "We do not get involved in divisive issues."

Psst! Mr. Hall, Jr... mowing down groups of people, murdering children, slaughtering teachers and theater-goers, destroying families, that's pretty divisive, don'tcha think? Death divides family members. Preventing death, maiming, and more devastation should be our goal.

Sadly, death also bring people together, but for the wrong reason. Just ask America, post-Sandy Hook:

More at the link.

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"Gun advocates think they know how any scenario involving guns will play out. They don't."

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cliff schecter on last word guns gun advocates

In one of the following letters, the author refers to "gun advocates." I prefer the terms gun fondlers, gun zealots, and gun fetishists, but what do I know, right? She makes a great point, as do the others in today's Los Angles Times letters to the editor.

Take a look at these and at the video below, because our voices matter:

Near the end of your article on the Las Vegas shootings, you mention Joseph Robert Wilcox, who pulled out a concealed weapon and confronted Jerad Miller at the Wal-Mart.

As I read this part of the article, I wondered what gun advocates who promote the fallacy that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun would say about that. Wilcox may have believed this idea and might have wanted to be a hero, but now he is dead after having been shot by a bad guy.

Gun advocates think they know how any scenario involving guns will play out. They don't.

Unfortunately, this part of the story will not even be part of the conversation. It is to our country's detriment that it won't be.

Nancy Zaman, Los Angeles

***

The politicians' angry cries against the release of five Guantanamo Bay detainees are loud. What of the American terrorists who routinely slaughter children, police officers and innocent civilians?

Those politicians refuse to defy their sponsor, the National Rifle Assn., and show little care for American lives.

Ruth Palanker, Los Angeles

***

Isn't it about time that we just stand up to the defenders of an amendment written more than 200 years ago and say it just doesn't apply anymore? Isn't it time for the cowards in Washington to quit protecting the NRA and start protecting the rest of us?

It's time we closed the gun shops and the gun shows and started restricting and shutting down the manufacturers of these weapons.

And yes, it is a mental health issue. It's about the absolute insanity of the people who think that owning a gun somehow makes you more of an American.

Collect the guns and get these nuts off the street before more of our children die.

Lee Cohen, Glendale

Now take a look at our own Cliff Schecter making the case against violence on The Last Word. As always, he knocked it out of the park:

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Student killed. Just "another week in the United States of the NRA."

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oregon shooting student killed v CNN gunsPhoto via CNN

While I was on air with Nicole Sandler today, this terrible news broke: Student killed, shooter also dead, at Oregon high school. Shortly after that, I received a press release from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, in part (emphasis mine):

"We hear our representatives calling for prayers, but today, we call on responsible gun owners, mothers, fathers, and all concerned citizens to call on our elected officials to pass reasonable reforms that will prevent gun violence. Will we have to wait until there is an active shooter at every school in America before our lawmakers act?" said Sarah Finger McDonald, Oregon Chapter Leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. "Today’s shooting was the 74th since Newtown. Our children and teachers should be learning and teaching in schools—not on lock down, cowering under desks, and evacuated from school with their hands raised in the air.”

Here at TPC, we can barely keep up with the epidemic of NRA-sponsored carnage, but we've tried:

These stories make a few things very clear. For example, in one case, no gun was needed to tackle a shooter and disarm him. In another case, a "good guy with a gun" was killed by "a bad guy with a gun." So much for that right wing gun-fondler talking point.

Referring to Second Amendmenters as "good guys," framing it in such unrealistic, black-and-white terms, is misleading at best. This isn't a 1950s Roy Rogers movie, it's real life. And right now, reality sucks.

Our own Cliff Schecter was on the Ronan Farrow show today recapping the series of horrific events. He spoke with his usual brilliantly blunt eloquence:

Cliff was asked on because of the latest "student killed" headline. And because that "student killed" headline has become so damned commonplace. What has this country become? As Cliff said, it's not the same place in which he grew up. Ditto.

And with that, here are today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

With more states allowing citizens to openly carry weapons into stores, libraries and churches; with the National Rifle Assn. convincing others that the best antidote to gun violence is more guns; and with people entertaining themselves watching movies and TV shows full of gratuitous violence, do we really need to ask, "What precipitated this event?"

Just look in the mirror.

Matt Giorgi

Brea

***

Dateline, Mission Viejo: A son kills his father, mother, sister and himself with a gun.

Dateline, Atlanta: A gunman trying to charge into a courthouse with an assault rifle and grenades is subdued after a gun battle with police.

Dateline, Seattle: A gunman kills one person before being subdued.

Dateline, Las Vegas: Two police officers are assassinated by two shooters who also kill a shopper and themselves.

Another week in the United States of the NRA, where that phrase "not one more" is just another bumper sticker.

So, folks, enjoy your next trip to the mall or sending your kids off to school. What could possibly go wrong?

Frank Ferrone

El Cajon

***

Two armed individuals walk into a restaurant carrying loaded weapons because they are exercising their 2nd Amendment rights.

Two armed individuals walk into a restaurant and kill two police officers.

Question: How does anyone know which two individuals just walked in until they start firing?

Terry Sternberg

Woodland Hills

And to drive home a few very serious points, here is a tongue-in-cheek video courtesy of CollegeHumor's Favorite Funny Videos:

H/t: The wonderful Gaius Publius of AMERICAblog

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